Well, that wasn’t entirely what I had in mind. For those of you who are not yet aware, yes, we have finally made it to New Hampshire. The trek took eighty-eight days and covered over four thousand miles. We battled hot (and cold!) weather, hills and mountains, mosquitos and skunks, rusty water, cows, bees, and even gravity at times. It was difficult (but not too difficult) and emotional and exceptionally rad. I hope I’m not out of line by speaking for everyone involved and saying we wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.

Sorrynotsorry for letting the blog languish on our trip. We barely had enough energy at the end of each day to give our summaries on Instagram. You can vicariously relive the entire journey by clicking the “InstaUpdate” link at the top of the blog. Not sure how long I’ll leave the link there, but the Instagram account will remain semi-active for the foreseeable future.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. I now firmly believe that most people are good.

Hi! We’re in… Idaho

Just a quick update for those of you playing along at home. After 20 days of  grueling travel over railroad-grade bike paths and along beautiful river banks, we have finally escaped the clutches of Washington state, never to return (until October, of course). We are currently staying at a hotel in Idaho’s panhandle soaking in the 90-degree heat for some much needed rest and recuperation. I’ve never been so happy in a chain hotel.

We are using today to regroup and figure out what the next leg of this trip looks like. With all the commotion going on with the house, we haven’t really thought much past the first map of the Northern Tier route. In addition to some paperwork, we have a series of chores and errands to run which we have been neglecting due to the rigors of travel. The most exciting aspect of this break (besides all of the dining out!) will be mailing a fair bit of gear back home. For the curious, here are some things it turns out we did NOT need.

  • Clothing
    Even though we tried to be as minimal as possible with our clothing choices, it turns out there are still some extra articles that have not been used. Just goes to show that no matter how much you bring, it is probably too much.
  • Extra Fuel Bottle
    Day 20 and we haven’t yet burned through our first of two fuel bottles for the camping stove. Turns out you don’t need to cook for every single meal.
  • Hammock
    I struggled mightily with this one. We used it for the first time on this trip just two nights ago. And while it was glorious (and Mini Mash Tun got a kick out of it) it is simply not conducive to life on the road. It is rare that we are camped in a spot with the proper supports to use it, and even rarer that on those days we have the energy or desire to set up, let alone the luxury of just laying in it for a bit. We are sad to see it go, but I look forward to setting it up semi-permanently once our trip is done.
  • Large pot
    We have three pots (1-, 2-, and 3-liter). We use the two smaller ones almost daily. The largest one, for the most part, has just been used as a vessel to store the other two. We did use it recently to cook an unruly amount pasta, but after further discussion we decided we could simply cook two smaller batches in the future.

I have now been sitting in front of a computer for an hour and it is time to extricate myself before I get sucked into some kind of Wikipedia rabbit-hole.

The Route

Editor’s Note: Apologies  for the lack of contextual links which are usually sprinkled throughout my posts. My tablet’s browser seems to be having difficulty with the WordPress interface. Looks like you’ll have to do your own Googling for a bit.

Here we are, 12 days into our epically epic bike ride and it occurs to me that most of you following along at home do not even know our route. We’re following the Northern Tier route (slightly modified) as established by Adventure Cycling. The route starts in Washington and heads east through northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota. From there we’ll start heading southeast through Minneapolis to Wisconsin and mostly likely through the upper peninsula of Michigan. After that is a quick turn south through the rest of Michigan, hooking a left into Ontario, and then heading home through upstate New York and Vermont. Technically, the route proper starts in Anacortes, due north of Seattle, but we wanted to hit the ground running and start heading east as soon as we left our house.

At this point it would be prudent of me to draw up a beautiful full-color map highlighting our route, but I’m typing this on 5-inch tablet at a drive-thru espresso stand using the employee wifi. You get what you pay for.

To wit, we made our way north over Lake Washington and meandered in a south-easterly direction until we hit the John Wayne Pioneer Trail just outside of North Bend. We followed this trail uphill for 20 miles or so until we made it through Snoqualmie Pass at which point it transformed into a “downhill” trail which didn’t feel all that downhill if the amount of pedaling required was any indicator.

We jumped off the trail in Cle Elum and started our northward journey to the Northern Tier, mostly via route 97, over Blewett Pass, and down into the upper Columbia River valley. Eleven days (and two relatively small mountain passes) later and we have finally arrived at the Northern Tier.

Planning the start of our journey this way allowed us to skip two relatively large mountain passes and ride through country we’ve never even driven through, let alone ridden through. It’s been glorious and wonderful and beautiful and frustrating and difficult and rewarding all at the same time and we’re only just starting.